Letter from Edinburgh

Sport and the arts can sometimes be at odds. We give too much money to one and not to the other, depending on your point of view.

But this week I saw the best of both. Shetland College’s art exhi­bition is quite excellent; with a richness to the exhibits both in paintings and textiles that shows the strength and depth of creative talent across our islands. The range makes the exhibition.

I’ve dragged reluctant children round art galleries to cries of: “this is boring”; “it’s all the same”; and “can I have an ice-cream?” The standard parental answer is along the lines of: “You will enjoy this because it’s good for you!”

But it would be a closed eye that didn’t find something to enjoy about this exhibition. I hope we see new creative businesses being set up in Shetland, now that good work is going on to promote a craft trail around the Islands in a way that Orkney has done very successfully for many years.

And then to the junior inter-county. I’ve tried not to mention the football result to my good friend and colleague Liam McArthur this week. He has the dubious pleasure of hav­ing a parliamentary office adjacent to mine.

It struck me, when watching the Shetland team at Gilbertson Park on Sunday night, that this age group has been playing representative football together since they were 12. It cer­tainly showed as they played for each other, especially after going a goal down.

A couple of former county players were discussing the post-goal celebrations when all the players run to the scorer. “But that’s what they all see when Barcelona score in the Champions League.” It matters. They care. They wanted it.

Later in the week I discussed with a hockey mum the highs and lows of parenthood when your son and daughter hasn’t been successful, ie when the team loses in the final minute and after some questionable tactics from the opposition.

“They’re all the stronger for know­ing how to take defeat, and above all their desire to win will be all the stronger,” was the general consensus. So well done to the junior captains for organising the post-county barbecue. I’ve yet to hear how it went. I suspect my knowledge is unlikely to be improved by asking Scott junior.

The other event that made me proud to be at home this week was the Bridges celebration. The Bridges Project creates routes into college, work and new challenges for youngsters who are not getting anything out of school.

It’s great to see young people roll up their sleeves, come out of a shell and work out what they want to do and why. Bridges does that.

So, as the SIC deals with really difficult financial decisions, a very strong case can be made for Bridges. It makes sure that people are not left behind and, in facing that unanswer­able question as a teenager of what to do, it is just indispensable.

Tavish Scott


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